Syrian war nears as Iraq's death toll rises

The world's eyes turn, once again, from Egypt to Syria

Old divisions linger stubbornly among the appointed world powers of the United Nations Security Council. Three veto-holding members of the security council have found no reason to believe the Syrian government’s claims that it didn’t gas its own people. The United States, United Kingdom and France spent the weekend sound-checking war-infused rhetoric. The other veto holders, Russia and China, weren’t so much of the same mind. Someone was going to invoke Iraq, and it turned out to be the Russians.

The job of reminding the world about the years-long, American-led struggle in Iraq fell to Alexander Lukashevich, quoted in the Ottawa Citizen. “All this is reminiscent of events from a decade ago, when the United States bypassed the UN and used fallacious information on the presence in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction to launch an adventure, the consequences of which are known to all,” he said.

Such comparisons are inevitably fraught, and the case for intervention in Syria is not the same as the case may have been in Iraq. Nor is it the same as in Afghanistan, Libya, Kosovo or even Mali, to name a few recent international efforts. The thrust of Lukashevich’s argument is objectionable, to say the least.

But that last part, “the consequences of which are known to all,” is difficult to dispute. No matter the justification for the western intervention in Iraq, no matter the lunacy, no matter the effort to nation-build in the aftermath of the worst fighting, the consequences certainly are known to all.

Over the weekend, 46 people died in several attacks all over Iraq. Hundreds died during the month of Ramadan. Thousands have died since April. Among Canadian newspapers, only the Toronto Star gives any real estate to the madness. As the world’s eyes turn from Egypt back to Syria, Iraq’s war continues.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the increasing odds of a western military intervention in Syria. The National Post fronts (online) the UN’s investigation of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with a one-on-one interview with Toronto police chief Bill Blair about the Sammy Yatim shooting. The Ottawa Citizen leads with western forces gearing up for war with Syria. iPolitics fronts the debate about the economic value of legalized marijuana. CBC.ca leads with UN inspectors travelling to the site of the alleged chemical attack in Syria. CTV News leads with apparent sniper fire directed at the UN inspectors. National Newswatch showcases a Hill Times story about how the opposition’s reduced clout in Parliament has weakened the institution.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Military. Canada’s regular and special forces are tussling for the country’s best troops. Elite officers complained regular force officers were preventing troops’ applications to the special forces. 2. Space. Canada is playing a role in a burgeoning international effort to plan manned expeditions to a future moon-orbiting space station, the moon itself, and eventually a mission to Mars.
3. Dentist. Private investigators are on the lookout for illegal dentist Tung Sheng Wu, who operated a clinic out of a house in the Vancouver area that was made public earlier this month. 4. Tobacco. A new U.S. position that could open up Trans-Pacific Partnership members to tobacco lawsuits is the latest obstacle in Canada’s search for more free trade agreements.
5. Iraq. Militants attacked civilians and off-duty troops in separate bombings and shootings in Baghdad, Mosul, Madain and Baqouba, killing at least 46 and wounding dozens of others. 6. Congo. Dozens of rebels and government soldiers near the city of Goma died and were injured over the weekend, as their fighting extended into a fifth day in the country’s east.